Antonio Brown: Honor to join 'legendary' Raiders

Flanked by his new coach and general manager, seated in front of three Lombardis and sporting a new subdued do -- a fitting business-in-front and party-in-back combo -- Antonio Brown spoke Wednesday afternoon for the first time as a member of the Oakland Raiders.

After a two-month-long standoff with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the receiver finally landed in a new desired locale as the league year began. Fresh off signing a three-year deal with $30 million in new guaranteed money with Oakland, Brown said he was happy to join the franchise, especially one with so much history.

"It's legendary. It's an honor to be here. I know there's some tremendous guys who've been in this building," Brown said of joining the Raiders. "I'm just excited to be in the same building as guys who've been great from the past and I'm excited to be here and help these guys go to a level as far as a winning environment."

Not that his former franchise didn't have a winning legacy. The six-time Super Bowl champion Steelers made the postseason six times in Brown's nine seasons with the club, during which the receiver rose from a sixth-round afterthought to arguably the game's greatest wideout.

But Brown desired a change for myriad reasons after the 2018 season, and Pittsburgh eventually traded the receiver to Oakland for a third- and fifth-round pick.

"Pittsburgh will always be my family," Brown explained. "Those guys gave me a chance when I was a 21-year-old kid. Obviously people listen to the things that were being said and written, but at the end of the day, it's all about how you make people feel. I think I made people feel really great, really inspired when they watch me go to work, when they watch me play. I know Steeler Nation is having a bad day today, but it's always love."

In Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Brown bought ad space in order to thank the city and the fans for his tenure in the Steel City.

Minutes after Brown's press conference began, the Steelers offered a parting message of their own.

"We have traded Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders," general manager Kevin Colbert said in a blunt statement released by the team. "We believe the compensation, which will now give us four picks in the first 83 selections and 10 overall in the upcoming NFL Draft, can benefit our effort to improve our team in 2019 and beyond.

"Antonio remains one of the best players in the National Football League, but as we believe, this move was in the best interest of the Pittsburgh Steelers. We wish Antonio all the best the rest of his career."

The Raiders officially acquired Brown on Wednesday, the same day that Oakland reportedly also added deep-threat wideout Tyrell Williams in a revamping of a receiving corps that was left wanting after Amari Cooper was traded for a first-round pick last season.

Second-year coach Jon Gruden, who helped execute both swaps, didn't want to re-hash or re-evaluate his decision to make the controversial Cooper swap during Wednesday's news conference. The skipper was far more focused on the team's future with Brown.

"We won't have to adjust anything with this guy, and we didn't have to adjust much with Amari," Gruden told reporters. "This is not about comparing receivers today.

"We don't want to have a good receiving corps. I want to have the best receiving corps in football and I think to have the best, you've got to have the best. In my opinion, we acquired the best receiver in football."

Brown was similarly confident that he can turn around Oakland's offense, which ranked 23rd in the league last season.

"I bring accountability," Brown said. "I bring actions. Not what I say, what I do. How I approach things. Holding guys accountable in the receiver room."

The wideout added that he was eager to work with a different starting quarterback in the Raiders' Derek Carr.

"Just refreshing," Brown said of the two's partnership. "I think he's hungry for success. Hungry to turn the organization around, hungry to get on the winning side of things. And I'm hungry for the same things. We stand for the same causes -- God-fearing men, family-first type of people -- and we just want to be the best at our craft."

Brown wearing silver and black instead of black and yellow will take some getting used to, but if the receiver's outlook and new look are any indication, he's already well adjusted to his new normal in Oakland.

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